Dog Obedience Training Classes Preston Lancashire

Why it’s important to choose the correct Dog Behaviourist

Every day I receive emails the length of my arm explaining how badly behaved peoples dogs are. Dog aggression is ever increasing, whether it’s dog on dog aggression, aggression towards humans, anxiety related, nervousness aggression, fear aggression, they are all becoming a huge problem in society.When people contact me they are in desperate need of help, what they don’t want is some unprofessional, inexperienced so called dog behaviourist/trainer who professes to know about dogs.

Working with dogs everyday of my life and for 17 hours a day 7 days a week I see many dogs and owners. Aggression is something that I specialise in and enjoy working with. Seeing the smile on a clients face when the dog they own has a future after I’ve helped to rehabilitate their behavioural problem is rewarding. Therefore it really annoys me when I speak to owners who’ve had the ‘fluffy bunny so called trainer’ in, only to exacerbate the dogs behaviour. This is become more and more of a problem.

One example is an enquiry I received yesterday. An 18 month old Sprocker called Jack. The owner has done some trainer but has allowed the dog to dominate her life. Jack has become aggressive towards Joanne and her son, he’s resource guarding and recently Jack bit Joanne whilst she was stroking him. The situation had become untenable so Joanne called in a dog behaviourist. So you may ask why has she called me 3 weeks after seeing the so called dog behaviourist? The answer is simple. The dog behaviourist has made the dog worse. A 3 hour home visit and all she could advise was to throw food on the floor to distract. To me thats a copout, not only was she unable to help, she is feeding the behaviour. Throwing food towards Jack is rewarding negative behaviour, it’s like saying if your child slaps you on the face then why not give them a chocolate bar to stop them. That obviously isn’t going to help the situation.

Before you book an appointment with a dog behaviouralist, read their website and testimonials, speak with them and ensure they have the knowledge and more importantly the experience of helping with the behavioural problems you have.

Over Loving Our Dogs: Part 2

Last week I blogged about the increasing trend I have noticed for owners over loving their dogs. This can be through fussy feeding, over-anxiety about their welfare, allowing them on furniture, sleeping on the bed, the list goes on and on. I frequently see the results of this over indulgence in behavioural lessons, with dogs that are anxious, aggressive and territorial.

I was interested to see this theme being picked up in the national press this week with the launch of the IKEA pet furniture range. An entertaining column in The Guardian on why we treat our pets as people comes to the same conclusions I have, our obsession with our pets is getting out of hand. From gourmet food to designer pet furniture to dog yoga, we are attributing human characteristics to our dogs that they just don’t have. A dog is a pack animal and being leader of the pack is exhausting for them – that’s the owners job. Rather than making their lives better through constant attention and indulgence, over loving our dogs makes them anxious and irritable. Let them know where they stand in the pack and you will have a happy dog and save yourself a fortune in accessories.

Can We Over Love Our Dogs?

ResidentiL Dog Training Miniature Schnauzer

Every day I receive new enquiries from owners with dogs that suffer from fear, aggression, separation anxiety and disobedience to name just a few of the behavioural problems they’re experiencing. The question we have to ask ourselves is who is to blame for this, can we over love our dogs? Many of us try to humanise our dogs and thus create dogs that lack structure, hierarchy and a true understanding of how they should be within the pack.

Why do we over love our dogs? It’s because we think that cuddling, loving and allowing our dogs to do what they want is something that will keep them happy. Wrong! In fact dogs thrive on being given structure, boundaries, limitations and an understanding of being a follower not a leader.

A classic example of this behaviour is with Willa, a Miniature Schnauzer that is presently residing with me for training. Stella her owner definitely over loves her and worries about everything, overthinking the simplest of things. Prior to arriving at my kennels, Stella was worrying how Willa would cope as she’s never stayed away. When she arrived to drop Willa off, Stella’s body language and thoughts were making Willa fearful of the situation and new surrounding. This meant initially even though Willa knew me from 1-2-1 lessons, she wasn’t compliant with walking away to heel. The moment I turned the corner it was like I’d flicked a switch. Willa was prancing to heel, happy and content. All her worries and anxieties had disappeared.

Stella had also been struggling to feed Willa, she’d spent time and effort trying to find a food that Willa wouldn’t just eat for one or two days and then leave. This was another concern as to whether she would eat in residential training. The food Stella had sent her with wasn’t that great and full of gravy flavour enhancements. It wasn’t that Stella was scrimping, it was that she thought Willa would only eat that. As dog nutrition is very important to me, I decided not to feed the gravy enhanced food she came with but to feed my Bob and Lush food instead. We are now on day six of her residential stay and every meal time, Willa has eaten with eagerness and thoroughly enjoyed the food, also her toilets are regular and firm.

Most of Willa’s anxieties emanate from her owner. The answer to the question can we over love our dogs is yes. If we as humans give less affection and focus on owning a dog, we’d have far happier dogs.


Testimonial – Dog Aggression Modifications through Patterdale Terrier Training

I have two rescue dogs – a patterdale called Tilly and a Bedlington whippet called Alfie.  Tilly was the main reason I called Damian for help…she was the sweetest of dogs indoors – cute, cuddly and sweet natured with anyone that came to the house. However, as soon as we went for a walk, she would pull, lunge and bark aggressively at anything (dog/cat/pigeons/cars etc) and become highly stressed, even squealing in an embarrassingly high pitched tone! (We were the talk of the neighbourhood!). Tilly was totally out of control, and as I thought, beyond control. This had been going on for about 3 yrs, with no improvement. I had settled with avoiding other dogs by walking her less often and only at times when less dog-walkers around etc. The other problem was doors….she would bolt through them when open. I felt I had to educate any visitors to a complex door system to stop the dog escaping!

Having told Damian about the problems I was having with Tilly, he had three key questions for me….Are your dogs allowed on the furniture? Do the dogs sleep with you on the bed? Do you feed them human food as treats? …the answer to all three questions was yes! Hence, in the week prior to my first session with Damian the first changes instigated….No more human food, couch replaced with floor, no more dogs in bedroom (or bed!).  The first few days I felt awful…I had a clear case of withdrawal symptoms from my dogs!

On meeting Tilly, Damian changed to a slip-lead, and within literally seconds he had her walking to heel! Not only that, with his spaniel then sat just meters away, Tilly was sat calmly looking at this dog with no barking, no pulling, no squealing – nothing! I couldn’t believe my eyes!

Obviously, it’s one thing for Damian to evoke this behaviour in my dog, but the key is for me to learn the tools. So far, one week on, it’s working! We managed to walk past a cat with no reaction today! I can’t speak highly enough of Damian and his Skills. I am absolutely amazed. If you have a dog with behavioural issues, I would thoroughly recommend Damian to you.

Well impressed!

dog aggression modification patterdale terrier

No Such Thing as Velcro Dogs

Bob is an eight month old Hungarian Vizsla with no basic commands, recall or focus. He pulls his owner, Lucy, when he is on the lead and is dominant towards her. The first thing I did in this dog behavioural lesson was to swap to a lead that corrects not restrains. Bob was not happy with the slip lead, spinning, barking and biting. Remaining calm, I waited for him to settle and then  walked him on the lead to heel.

Breeds such as the Hungarian Vizsla and the Pointer are often described as velcro dogs because of their attachment to their owners. This reputation can lead owners to be over-loving towards their dogs, believing they cannot leave them alone as the dog will have separation anxiety. Quite the opposite is true: there is no such thing as velcro dogs. Just treat your dog as a dog, put expectations on behaviour and manners. Treating them according to stereotypes only causes behavioural problems, leading to the dog being confused as to where they stand in the household. Never let a dog’s perceived needs run your life; train them appropriately and they will become a great companion.

dog behavioural problems hungarian vizsla

Progress with Riley the Red Setters Dog Training

It’s always rewarding when training with clients who clearly put in so much effort that its obvious with the dogs progression and the enjoyment shown by the owners. This is certainly the case with Louise and James and Riley the Irish Red Setter. With a baby due in 5 months and a lively 9 month old Setter it’s important to ensure he understands structure and boundaries.

Today was lesson 3 with Riley and the progress he’s made is huge. Walking to heel, steadiness and recall is all positive. Only yesterday his owners had him sat in a park with distractions around and he waited off lead until they returned.

The thought of a bouncy disobedient dog and a baby in a pram is one Louise doesn’t want to have to contend with so over the coming months we are working together to get a dog thats a pleasure to take out.

dog training riley the irish red setter

Testimonial – Dog Training Behaviour Correction with Two Miniature Dachshund

dog training 2 miniature daschunds
We bought Rolo and Fudge from a breeder and only being 2 months apart they have grown inseparable and formed a pack making training feel impossible as they didn’t listen to us at all.
We attended puppy classes when they were young however it led to them only behaving to bribes with food which is not realistic.  Fudge the smaller one established himself as the clear leader of the pack and was becoming a nightmare on walks, barking at other people and dogs and pulling on the lead, Rolo copied this behaviour making walks something we dreaded rather than enjoying. We got to breaking point and decided we needed help!
We spent a long time searching for the right person online and reading reviews about trainers and that’s when we came across Damian.  We can definitely appreciate why there were so many glowing reviews, he is a real life dog whisperer!!! He has shown us that most of the behavioural problems stemmed from us and has probably spent more time training us as owners than the dogs.  He is fantastic and we are so grateful for his help as now walks have become so much better, and we are enjoying the dogs so much more.
Thanks the real boss (Nicola)

Testimonial – Dog Training a Spanish Rescue Dogs

Dear Damian

Thank you for the lovely pictures of Layla. Quite a difference in her demeanor between the before and after photos. She looks far more perky and confident after her first training session.
Both my friend and myself were very impressed with your training session. I couldn’t believe how quickly Layla , my new rescue dog, responded to your instructions and within five minutes you had her walking to heel without pulling on her lead.
Within the hour you had achieved a significant change in her behaviour. She appeared less anxious because she understood what you wanted her to do.You obviously have a deep understanding of dog psychology.
By continuing at home with the clear  instructions you gave to me Layla is now a pleasure to take on walks. She is visibly more relaxed and enjoys her outdoor time at our side rather than constantly pulling on the lead.
We are very much looking forward to our next lesson with you which im sure will progress Layla’s development even more.
dog training a spanish rescue dog

Residential Dog Training with Elmo the Rescue Spring Spaniel

Elmo is a four year old rescue Springer Spaniel. Being a rescue dog, his owner Jonathan is not sure of Elmo’s past but he is very nervous and reactive to other dogs. It’s easy to overcompensate for what might have happened in the past but too much attention has not helped the dog’s behaviour.  I was recommended to Jonathan by a client of mine in Cornwall and seeing what I could do in one lesson and how calm and relaxed the dog was with me, he booked Elmo in for a residential stay.

Initially I have been assessing Elmo’s behaviour. Elmo can be nervous and anxious of change but during his time with me, he has not reacted negatively to any of my dogs. My training has been to engage his focus with structure and boundaries that create security for him. To build his confidence around other animals, I have undertaken desensitisation training; my rural kennels are the perfect place for this, surrounded by livestock and farm traffic. There is still work to do with Elmo, it is always a long journey with a rescue dog but with another two weeks of residential training ahead, I will make real progress with him.

residential dog training springer spaniel

Livestock Desensitisation for two Residential Dogs

It’s a beautiful morning here at the kennels so I decided I’d work on training two of my residential dogs on livestock desensitisation. Living in the countryside and behind a farm enable me to work on areas of training that other kennels might not be able to offer. Also it important that we subject our young dogs to as many situations as possible in the early months. One day you and your dogs may encounter livestock whilst out walking in the countryside and we have a duty of care to these animals.

Dog training livestock  desensitisation training Dog training livestock  desensitisation training